Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 31, 2016: A Little Success

In response to Dad's email:
Let it be known, I thought Captain America was the best from the first movie (exempting the first Avengers, when Hulk was the best).

So we got to finally meet S., the lady who's staying at the R's. She's way cool and super prepared! She's even read through the Book of Mormon and says it answers a lot of questions she's had. She seemed tentative at first about it, but she's said that she'd have no problem with meeting with us now!

Our prayer for L. to be able to find a buyer for his house was answered and we're lucky enough to have him for about one more month to teach. He wants to be baptized in Blackfoot in his friend's ward. He's stopped reading anti and he's said that he wants the Book of Mormon to be true just from all the goodness he sees that comes out of it.

We're going to be giving a brief little "training" in elders quorum this next Sunday on how to turn home teaching into a rewarding missionary effort (as requested by the quorum president). Pray that we'll be able to help them find inspiration in carrying that out. Also, pray that transfers goes smoothly.

Thanks for the thoughts on Memorial Day, Dad. Love you!

Elder Rice

Email for Mom:
Sorry I didn't email earlier! Yesterday the library was closed and today we did service at the HOPE center and had lunch with the ward mission leader, Brother D. Elder A. is being transferred to Norman and I don't know the mailing address for that yet. Transfers is tomorrow and I will be companions with Elder B. (I haven't seen or heard about him yet.) Looking forward to meeting him! I might be senior companion for the first time. I don't think it'll change much of anything except I'll be driving.

Also, Nathan let me know that you're not very happy about the whole missing the fall semester cut off. I've heard that there have been some missionaries that are able to work with the mission president at going home from a week to a transfer early. If that'll relieve any stress I can look into it. I'm all right if that's what works best, but I'd like to go for the full allotted time.

So it seems like life in general back home is becoming crazy for everyone or at least that's what it sounds like from the emails. I guess it's kind of an interesting thing to watch the seasons of trial. This week has been a little crazy here as well (not as hard as it seems you guys have it), but I remember what Brother T. said. He had been going through a personal season of trial, which included a broken $400 heating unit (I think that's what it was). His first feeling was definitely frustration, but then he thought about how the Lord had blessed him and that not so many months before they would've just gone without a heater. But God provided him the means to pay $400 without debt. I'm grateful for the fact that all of you also are blessed with the means—physical and spiritual—to get through this, if not now, then later.

Thanks for the poem, Mom! I don't really see how they could've interpreted the poem that way if they went back and looked at the second and third stanzas, but maybe they wanted to put a certain spin on it. I liked the poem, though I thought it was a little depressing. I hope that's not the pattern that we (PaNaJoJa) follow too closely. [Note: PaNaJoJa is a family portmanteau of all four boys' names.]

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016: Fortune Cookies

Email to Mom:
Elder A. is pretty cool. He'd said he was going to send you guys an email or something awhile back. I thought it had already got to you. And no, no one got bit by a snake. We did see a tiny snake though, which leads into the fortune cookie thing.

Well, we dropped off all the cookies and came by some of the streets the next day. TONS of people actually answered their doors (unusual occurrence out here) and we got a few return appointments. The only guy who mentioned the fortune cookie, though, was a little sketched out. Elder M. and I (we were on exchanges) spotted this little snake off to the side of the door in a pile of leaves and we used a stick to kind of move the leaves around to find it. The guy came out (he was about 25) and said he was NOT OKAY with what we were doing, whatever it was. He explained that he was on edge that day because he opened a fortune cookie that said, "We will be coming to your house. Open up." I know what the order said, but he seemed a tiny bit paranoid, so we decided not to mention the whole fortune cookie thing. He's still willing to meet with us, though!

Congrats on the poems! Maybe you should make a poetry book! She might have been the only one to say it, but other's might be thinking it.

I'm already paranoid about getting a cavity, so I'm doing pretty well on keeping my teeth in good shape. No need to worry there.

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

Email to Dad:
It sounds to me like you didn't like the hike.

Well, we tried the fortune cookie thing. It seemed to work pretty well, though I can't prove that it caused the success we saw.

Elder M. shared some really cool insight that he had on 1 Nephi. Nephi attempted to get the plates from Laban three different times. The first plan was to just ask him for it. The second was to trade all their precious things for it. We know how those plans turned out. The third plan was to just go and do as the Spirit directs. When we plan as missionaries, we plan something and a backup to that something. Sometimes those plans start to not mean anything because we plan without any real hope of the appointment turning out. But Nephi did everything in his power to make his plan A and his plan B work. Only AFTER putting in that effort did the Lord provide the way. We are expected to put in all our effort, and if our strength fails or our minds can’t seem to manage grabbing the answer, then he comes in and shows the best way.

The members here are awesome! The Bartletts were moving out and let us raid their pantry for supplies as they were planning on leaving a lot of it. Then a new member in the ward provided dinner for us and surprised us in giving us a huge load of groceries! She says she usually does that for missionaries because she hopes that someone will treat her grandchildren the same on their missions.

Love you guys! Remember to send Elder A. something back! (He thinks you guys are way cool.)

Elder Rice

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016: Email for Mom

Disney Infinity died?! That's crazy! That kind of stinks.

We got a bunch of referrals for new investigators this week, and three of the less-active members that we were working with are officially active now. So lots of good this week, but no crazy stories.

Last night Elder A. and I both dreamt that he got bit by a snake, so we'll have to see if he survives the week. Also, Elder A. made this bet that I was going to get a package as we drove back and that it would have the fortune cookies in it, and that I would have to call him prophet if he got it right. I didn't think it would happen, but I said that he'd get a package with at least one cookie in it, and then he'd have to do the same to me. Oddly enough, he actually did get an entire package full of homemade cookies.

That's interesting that Jacob is so good at reading directions. I wouldn't have guessed it. That'll be awesome for him in school!

L. is like a rehash of the whole experience with Sister T. (who's still doing well from last I heard in Shawnee). He's pretty well determined to get baptized and already has awesome fellowship in the ward, but he's reading all the low-key anti-Mormon histories. We're more prepared for it this time. He's actually giving the Book of Mormon a really good read through. I just don't think he's quite yet willing to accept any prophets after Joseph Smith, and he's not quite a fan of the Word of Wisdom. He's willing to give it a try, though. Pray for L.!

I brought all my camera cords this week and it turned out that none of them were the right one.

... Just kidding, here's some photos:

Me and Elder A. 
Me and Elder A.

Before lightning storm at 7:30 p.m.

Lightning strike during the 7:30 p.m. storm

Tornado Weather

Some high-wind damage (not tornado damage)

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 9, 2016: Hello ... Again

I don't know what to write about. I did remember a cool/crazy story when we were out tracting though. I think I told this to one of the brothers though. I'm not sure who.

So we were street contacting and found a guy out on his porch smoking (as is not uncommon out here) and we came over and started talking to him. He seemed fairly normal for the most part, and he talked a little about his time in the military. We started to steer the conversation towards the gospel, and he seemed to agree with every point we talked about. However, he seemed to throw in little things here and there that were strange, like seeing ghosts. We decided to just keep going along, because who knows? Then he started to tell us about how he can see angels standing on top of the stars at night shooting golden gospel arrows at people, and he described a battle he had with the neighbors who were trying to kill a little blue angel. The Holy Trinity came to his aid and they ran off the neighbors.

I would've thought he was joking or trying to run us off, but I could tell from the seriousness of his tone that he wasn't. He was a nice enough guy anyway, though, so we left him with our testimonies and a Book of Mormon (which he said he'd read) and went on our way.

Sister R. is housing a lady who is going to school here in Oklahoma. Apparently, not only has she read the Book of Mormon, but she's been working up the courage to come to church. We were just excited that we could teach her. (Most college kids are in the UCO sisters' age range for teaching. We've had to hand over a lot of investigators after finding out their ages.)

Heheheh. So I brought my camera and I remembered to bring a cord, but I brought the cord to the wrong camera. I'll see if anyone else here has something that I could use to send them.

Also, I wasn't at all homesick up until the call last Christmas! Even then, I normalled out pretty quickly after. You just have to think about all the blessings you have from being out here (which are not a few) and then you're ready to go.

I love you guys! Stay safe, and thanks for the fortune cookies. Our hail beats out your hail (2-inch to softball-sized). Haven't had any tornado warnings or large storms here for a while.

Elder Rice

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2, 2016: Mother's Day Update

Well, we found a place to Skype from. Sister R. (the one we're related to) is letting us Skype at her house. Did I mention she found out we're also related to the H. family in the ward? and it looks like we might be connected to the G.s as well. As for the time, we'll get that today. I'll let you know this time.

Yeah, I thought the break wasn't that bad, and maybe it wasn't and the orthopedic just didn't want to risk it. Anyway, he's allowing me to walk on it now so I can spend more time on the street and less in the car.

The idea for the cactus was to just be that one elder apartment that has a cactus that you have to take care of. "If you can't take care of a cactus, then how will the Lord trust you with investigators?" (Elder A.)

So the first storm of tornado season passed through. Seems like there's been a lot of hype recently for tornados, and then they don't end up happening or the storm is less than they thought. We only had a few small tornados out here, none very close to us at all. It rained a crazy ton though. Norman got hit with two-inch hail. So far, no problems.

It's actually kind of funny. The Oklahomans who are transplants get worried about all the storms and are glued to the TV, and the native born just walk out of their trailer home with drink in hand and sit in their lawn chair to watch the storm. "Bring it on!"

That's only a slight exaggeration. It seems that no one goes to shelter until the tornado is literally on their street. Crazy!

Thank you for the video. I don't think I entirely fit the description, I remember plenty of instances that exempt me, but I'm glad I helped somehow.

Well, I learned the importance of persistence this week. We visited a potential investigator for the fourth time and finally made it in the door. He has a few Mormon friends he's been talking with and has committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying.

L. and his daughter came to church again this week. It was a little weird though. The first testimony given was by a less active business man who used it as a platform for his "Extreme Word of Wisdom" book and quoted Jerry Springer.

More guys from the elder's quorum are planning splits for home teaching, so we're pretty happy.

We've got zone p-day pretty soon here and I'm going to have to get going, so sorry this was less personalized. Also, I do want to try that fortune cookie idea I mentioned a while back.

Nathan: Thanks for the pin and title and especially the comments.

Joshua: Good, don't be dramatic. Yes, you should still be the game maker. I'll try to remember the story for you.

Jacob: I still don't get the soup thing, but thanks for giving inigo a turn. Be nice to that farmer.

Love you guys. Read the King Benjamin address this week.

Elder Rice


Nathan presenting his Eagle mentor pin